Bosses at a popular Aberdeen brewery admitted they were stunned when a fundraiser to help the business smashed its target in just a few hours.
Fierce Beer, which is based in Dyce and has bars on Exchequer Row in Aberdeen and in Edinburgh, set up a crowdfunding campaign after losing around 80% of its revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fundraiser went live at 9am yesterday – and within five hours had smashed its original target of £75,000.
The target was then extended to £100,000 and that had also been beaten with almost £125,000 raised in just 24 hours.
At one stage, donations were flooding in at a rate of 10 every minute.
Hi all. Well we just cant believe what went on yesterday. We are in awe of you incredible people.
We have had a number of folks still wanting to join in, so we will remain open to pledging today up until 6pm, when regardless of values – we will close it out.
Much love. Fierce HQ https://t.co/x6v14L5Fhf
— FierceBeer (@fiercebeer) April 2, 2020
The fundraiser is designed to keep the firm’s 24 staff – all but three of whom have been placed on the government’s job retention scheme – in a job when the crisis eases and businesses are able to return to normal.
In a statement on the crowdfunding page, the firm said: “The global Covid-19 pandemic has created a very uncertain landscape for millions of British small businesses, which is going to make it very challenging for many to survive, and putting livelihoods at risk.
“Our business at Fierce Beer has been hit hard, with revenues down by 80%, and we need to look at ways to get through this. We are looking after our staff well, and keeping everyone as safe as we can, but times are really tough.”
Anyone who contributes to the crowdfunder receives rewards in the form of vouchers to be spent online or in Fierce’s bars and a discount card offering 10% off for life.
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Managing director Dave Grant said: “It’s really humbling and it’s amazing so many people have taken the time and effort, particularly under these circumstances, to help us out with some cash. It really is outstanding.
“I didn’t expect the response to come so quickly.
“We did spend a lot of time pushing it on social media but everyone is hurting at the moment,” he added.
“A lot of people are out of work or on reduced wages so the fact people wanted to help us out and look to keep us in business is fantastic.
“If people still want to keep donating we will keep it going. We are super-appreciative.”
He added: “We have no plans to use this money to buy anything or expand. It’s purely to give us cash in the bank to pay our staff and the rest will be bled off by people taking up the rewards.
“It’s to make sure the company stays afloat and will ensure the people sat at home on furlough will have a good job to come back to. It means they get to keep their jobs which is the main thing.
“Just by joining in people are getting one-and-a-half times what they pledge back to spend in our bars or online. They are also getting a discount for life and we will genuinely look upon them as fantastic people.”
Some of the hundreds who have already pledged their support left messages for staff online.
Danny Partridge said: “Every little helps. Especially if it is going to help towards you guys continuing to create great stouts.”
And Robert Morrice added: “Happy to support an amazing local company that always produces great quality, great tasting flavourful beer. Keep up the good work.”